Recently, a joint effort to end train accidents around the country was announced by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). The effort is a radio, digital video, and digital campaign called “Stop! Trains Can’t.”
Messages in each medium will remind drivers to yield to oncoming trains at railroad crossings.
Campaign to be Focused on At-Risk Drivers and States
The “Stop! Trains Can’t” campaign will be aimed at 18- to 49-year-old men driving in the states determined to have the 15 most dangerous railroad crossings and 75% of crossing accidents in the United States.
These states include New York and New Jersey.
The other states are California, Illinois, Texas, Louisiana, Indiana, Ohio, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Alabama, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Arizona.
Overall, accidents at railroad crossings have fallen over the past decade. However, in 2014, deaths due to railroad crossing accidents rose sharply.
In 2015, there were 232 fatalities caused by railroad crossing accidents. An individual or vehicle is hit by a train every three hours across the nation.
Although rail incidents have declined over the last 10 years, railroad crossing fatalities spiked in 2014. Last year alone, 232 people died in railroad crossing accidents, and approximately every three hours, a person or vehicle is hit by a train in the United States.
Railroad Crossing Deaths Are Preventable
The campaign reminds drivers that they must always yield to trains, whether a stop sign or crossing arm is in place or not. Trains are legally given the right of way simply because they are unable to stop with any speed or change course.
It also is a warning to never try to beat a train. Vehicle drivers can stop. Trains can’t.
If a train going 55 miles per hour needs to stop, it takes a mile or longer, even using the emergency brake. A mile equates to 18 football fields laid end to end.
FRA Administrator Sarah E. Feinberg alluded to the DOT’s two-year effort to reduce accidents at railroad crossings, saying “This is an old problem, but one that can be solved. Nearly all deaths at crossings are preventable.”
Contact an Attorney Experienced in Train Accidents
Anyone can be involved in a railroad crossing accident: a vehicle driver, a passenger, a pedestrian, or train passenger. If you or a loved one has been hurt in an accident like this, please contact our law firm to discuss your legal rights.
Car accident attorneys at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman have years of experience in train, vehicle and pedestrian accidents. Call us or fill out the form on our website. We will be happy to meet you at our Rockland County, NY or Bergen County, NJ offices. The consultation is complimentary.
Additional Railroad Crossing Accident Resources:
- “DOT Launches New Railroad Crossing Safety Ad Campaign.” National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. January 13, 2017. https://www.nhtsa.gov/press-releases/dot-launches-new-railroad-crossing-safety-ad-campaign.
- “Stop! Trains Can’t.” U.S. Department of Transportation. www.transportation.gov/stop-trains-cant.